Creamy Polenta


Polenta isn't a glamorous dish, but it's very satisfying on a cold winter day. Polenta complements hearty roasts and stews and can be a nice change from potatoes. Its simplicity makes a nice foil for rich and earthy Braised Lamb Shanks. The addition of half and half makes this polenta creamy, but equal amounts of stock or water can be substituted, if desired. If you're feeling indulgent, add some grated Parmesan to the finished polenta for a real treat!


3 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup half and half
  Sea salt (to taste)
  freshly ground pepper (to taste)


Bring the stock a simmer in a medium saucepan.

Whisk in the polenta and cook over low to medium heat until the cornmeal begins to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes. Polenta likes to spit and spatter, so be careful and moderate the heat as needed to keep this to a minimum.

Add the half and half, and stir frequently until the polenta thickens to the consistency of soft mashed potatoes, 20 to 30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin polenta with water or stock to maintain a creamy consistency.

Note: If you intend to hold the polenta before serving, cover the surface with plastic wrap or buttered wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.

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